Basic Bruschetta

My mother and I celebrated a lovely Easter at a family friend's house, complete with egg dye-ing, good wine, excellent food, great company and a pretty random spring storm. This may be the first Easter I've spent in the midst of a massive April shower... Although to me, Easter should always be windy and slightly cloudy (comes from spending so many Easter's at the farm in Kansas.)

Anyway, we were asked if we could bring along some wine and an appetizer, so I coached my sous-chef Mom into helping me throw together some basic tomato bruschetta. For those who don't know, bruschetta can come in many shapes or forms, and can also be mis-pronounced in about four different ways (it's supposed to be something bru-sKET-uh, but even with 8 years of Italian I still mash out the word broo-shedDUH in my best American voice possible.) I've tried a ricotta-tomato one, a surprisingly delicious chicken-liver concoction in Florence, and about everything in between. But far and away a simple tomato and basil combo is my favorite. I think I started with something by Mario Batali, but kinda went off on my own direction with it. You can find a million different variations on the same thing; I'll just credit the Italian population of the world as a whole. Find one you like and make it your own!

Basic Bruschetta

You will need:
Some tomatoes (we used about 5, the clustery-vine type)
Some fresh basil, cut into thin strips (6 leaves? I dunno, eyeball it)
About 1/4 cup or less good olive oil (I use Colavita extra-virgin)
1 clove or so of garlic, mashed up in your garlic masher device (or just minced)
Black Pepper and Salt, to taste (skimping not necessary)
Dash Balsamic Vinegar (if you want)

And then you will do this:
Chop up those tomatoes! I cored and seeded mine, but if you don't mind the mushier texture, then do as you please. After chopping all those babies up, whisk together your garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Dump it in with the tomatoes, mix, and then throw in the basil. I threw a dash of balsamic vinegar on top, which accidentally became about 10 dashes, and had to drain some out. In the end, you couldn't taste it much, but I adore the stuff and include it wherever possible.

Meanwhile, have your mother or whoever your assistant may be, thinly slice up a baguette. Throw the slices under the broiler for a few minutes on each side (or just one if you're lazy). While they're still warm but cool enough to handle, rub each piece with some raw garlic. That's right, just lop a clove in half and rub it straight on that hot bread-y goodness. It really whams up the intensity of the bruschetta. If you don't want to mess with all this, just buy some good crackers, and add a bit more garlic to the bruschetta so you get a nice hit of bad breath to share with everyone later. They'll thank you for it, I promise.

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